Justice

Why This Response To Kylie Jenner's Magazine Shoot Is Going Viral

December 4th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

Erin Tatum, a woman with cerebral palsy, recreated Kylie Jenner's controversial wheelchair photo for Interview magazine to show what it's really like to live with a disability.

RELATED: Kylie Jenner's Latest Magazine Cover Is Causing Outrage

As ATTN: noted earlier this week, many had a negative reaction to Jenner's cover photo for Interview magazine because they felt it made having disability look merely like a fashion accessory rather than the reality for many disabled people. Twenty-four-year-old Tatum agreed with the criticism and took to Tumblr to share an image of herself in a wheelchair beside Jenner's magazine image to convey that her condition should not be treated so lightly in a fashion publication:

 

"I tried my best to create a more authentic version of Kylie Jenner’s Interview cover, given that I’m, you know, actually disabled and a real life wheelchair user," Tatum wrote. "I can barely get people to make eye contact with me, let alone land a cover shoot. If being in a wheelchair is trendy now, I’ve apparently been a trendsetter since before Kylie was born."

Aly Semigran wrote in a piece for Refinery 29, explaining that that Interview magazine and Jenner should take note of Tatum's post:

"[Tatum's Tumblr post is] exactly the type of message that ought to resonate with Jenner and Interview: using a wheelchair as a fashion prop to raise eyebrows isn't just a display of questionable taste, it actually accentuates an uneven playing field. Women like Erin [Tatum] should be on magazine covers, but aren't often granted that opportunity. Until that changes, the people behind an image like this should have a deeper sense of that fact."

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Tatum wasn't the only one to tweet about the reality of living with a disability compared to Jenner's photo. Here are some other people who shared similar photos responding to the issue:

Ophelia Brown, who wrote the previous tweet, also penned an open letter to Jenner for MTV about the impact of her magazine cover. Brown wrote that she believes the photo shoot wasn't all Jenner's fault but that it made her feel awful nonetheless:

"Seeing you sitting in a wheelchair, modeling, made me sad, angry — even jealous — that you could so easily get in and out of the chair whenever you liked. It made me think about all the times that I’ve been told 'handicapped people can’t be beautiful' or that I was 'too sick to love.' There you were, on the cover of a magazine being published to a country that absolutely adores you. Here I was, completely invisible."

Following the negative response to the photo shoot, Interview magazine stood by its decision to publish the wheelchair image.

ALSO: KYLIE JENNER AND TYGA ARE THE LATEST TARGETS OF CELEBRITY DROUGHT SHAMING

"​At Interview, we are proud of our tradition of working with great artists and empowering them to realize their distinct and often bold visions," a rep told E! Online. "The Kylie Jenner cover by Steven Klein, which references the British artist Allen Jones, is a part of this tradition, placing Kylie in a variety of positions of power and control and exploring her image as an object of vast media scrutiny. Throughout the Art Issue, we celebrate a variety of women who are both the creators and subjects of their artistic work, and the Kylie feature aims to unpack Kylie's status as both engineer of her image and object of attention."

Interview added that it never meant to offend others.

"Our intention was to create a powerful set of pictures that get people thinking about image and creative expression, including the set with the wheelchair," the publication said in a statement to E! Online. "But our intention was certainly not to offend anyone."